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City looking for $200,000 grant to buy 5,000 recycling bins

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ZANESVILLE – Changes may be coming to Zanesville’s recycling program.

City Council approved an emergency ordinance Monday night allowing city administrators to apply for a $200,000 grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for new recycling equipment, including 5,000 new recycling bins and a new bin-lifting apparatus for its sanitation trucks. 

The ordinance also states if the city is awarded the grant, the city would need to include its $50,000 match in the upcoming 2019 budget. Those funds would come from the city’s sanitation fund, Deputy Public Service Director Scott Bryant said.

There will be no increase service cost, Bryant said.

What changes? 

Approximately 50 percent of city residents would receive the new 96-gallon bins. Bryant said the city will target its bin distribution to those who actively participate in recycling, as well as areas with low participation.

Recycling pickup will also be shifted from a weekly pickup to a two-week pickup. The trash pickup schedule will not be affected, Public Service Director Jay Bennett said at Monday’s Public Service Committee meeting.

Bryant said he expects recycling will continue to be picked up for each resident on the same day of the week as trash, though details of the final schedule are still being worked out. Streets and Sanitation Superintendent Jeff Shook declined to comment, directing questions to Bennett’s office.

Only nine percent of city residents participate in the recycling program, city officials said. As a result, the city is disposing of close to 5,000 tons more waste than expected.

Residents currently place recyclables in blue or transparent bags, provided by the city, and place them out on the curb on their designated collection day. The new bins and schedule will not change what items the city can and cannot accept for recycling, Bennett said at the Public Service Committee meeting.

Bryant and Bennett said they hope the new bins will alleviate some of the hassle of packaging recyclables and will in turn increase participation.

“When compared to national norms, the existing waste and recycling program is not effective in recovering the recyclables generated within the city,” the project’s executive summary states. “The current blue/clear bag system is not an inherently user friendly or convenient system. To recycle requires pre-planning by the residents.”

The new curbside collection program will “lead to a more sustainable operation and utility costs for our community,” the ordinance reads. With reduced landfill dumping, the city is projecting to save $195,000 in disposal fees, plus an additional $150,000 in labor costs.

A revamped recycling program has been in discussion for a while in the Public Service Department. The city had applied for the same grant last year, but did not receive it.

In the Public Service Committee meeting and prior council’s vote, Council President Daniel Vincent expressed concern about passing the ordinance without citizen input. Council passed the ordinance unanimously.

City officials should know if they have been awarded the grant by the beginning of May.

ndharris@gannett.com

740-450-6752

Twitter: @nwithan8

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